Morning After Pill Can Be Given to All Ages, Judge Rules


BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The “morning after” pill can be made available to women of all ages and without a prescription, a federal judge ruled Thursday, dealing a blow to U.S. restrictions on access to the contraceptive.

U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make the emergency contraceptive available without restrictions in 30 days. Korman’s ruling follows a reproductive rights group’s request to reopen a lawsuit over access to the contraceptive Plan B, claiming the FDA acted in bad faith when it placed restrictions on the drug.

“The plaintiffs should not be forced to endure, nor should the agency’s misconduct be rewarded by, an exercise that permits the FDA to engage in further delay and obstruction,” Korman wrote in the ruling.

Korman ruled in 2009 that the age restrictions were arbitrary and based more on political pressure than safety. He ordered the pill be made available without a prescription to 17- year-olds as well.

The pill and generic versions of it are now kept behind pharmacy counters and sold without prescription only to women 17 and older.

The case is Tummino v. Hamburg, 05-cv-366, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).